Causes of World War II: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Michael Gott

Mike is a veteran of the New Hampshire public school system and has worked in grades 1-12. He has a Master's of Education specializing in Social Studies.

Discover the several causes of World War II. Examine how the failure of the Treaty of Versailles, economic hardships and fascism lead to the need for a second world war.

What was World War II

Sometimes when you get into an argument with a sibling on one day, it's because of something that happened days before. And sometimes it's not even one thing, it's a whole bunch of different things that built up over time. Well World War II, which lasted from 1939-1945, was kind of like this. Let's take a look at some of the causes of World War II.

Treaty of Versailles

One of the main causes of World War II was the Treaty of Versailles, which ended World War I. This treaty forced Germany to take full responsibility for World War I. This meant they had to pay for every country's costs during the war, as well as give up valuable land. Since they didn't have the money, they couldn't pay the debt they owed. Debt is when you owe someone else, or a group, money.

The Post WWI World

Another thing that happened in the world was the Great Depression. This was a 10-year economic crisis that started in 1929. It resulted in a shortage of money, resources and jobs. Countries, like Germany, suffered more than others because they were already in debt.

One way to create jobs was to expand the military and Germany did this. Spain, Italy and Japan also used this crisis to defend building up their armies. These countries were proud of their armies and became eager to find excuses to use them in the pursuit of more resources.

Adolf Hitler Promises to Fix Germany

Adolf Hitler promised to make Germany great again
Hitler Causes of WWII

Since most Germans didn't feel it was fair to be blamed for World War I, they became desperate. It was then they turned to a man named Adolf Hitler. Adolf Hitler promised to make Germany great again, and blamed various groups of people both inside and outside of Germany for the problems the country faced.

After Adolf Hitler was elected, his Nazi party took over the country by force. He became the ruler of Germany and Germans who opposed him, or tried to alert the people of these actions, were murdered. During the war, the Nazi party also murdered people based on their race or religion. These killings are known as the Holocaust.

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